If you happen to be walking along the quai Branly next to the Eiffel tower you will certainly notice a small food stall selling various sweet and salted cream puffs. This is one of the newest creation of Alain Ducasse and Christophe Michalak pampering the streets of Paris with their most exquisite French style street food – the irresistible choux pastry. It might not be as exotic as the food peddlers seen in Asia, but the savoury cream puff concept Parisian style is certainly worth a try. Made from a light pastry dough of water, eggs and butter, the choux pastry is also used to make the popular profiteroles and éclair. Pastry puffs were created presumably at the court of France in the 16th century by Pantarelli the head cook of Catherine de Medici wife of Henry II. As time goes by so the choux pastry evolved and by the 18th century a French pastry cook by the name of Avice created the shapes resembling small cabbages, hence the name “choux”. The choux story continues with Antoine Carême 18th century master chef who perfected the recipe. Crisp and creamy, the quality of these choux have been carefully orchestrated by Christophe Michalak using only the finest ingredients. Freshly baked throughout the day sweet puffs come with a light pastry cream made by using only a small amount of sugar with a touch of fleur de sel to create a tasty contrast. The “choux d’enfer” as it is branded – street style French Haute Pâtisserie, consists of several variety of filled sweet and savoury puffs – choux, chouquettes and gougères. There is a nice choice of sweet puffs with chocolate filling using 80% cocoa with a water based non dairy cream, another variant is the salted butter caramel cream from Michalak’s creation of his famous la religieuse choux pastry. More flavoured pastry cream comes with aromatic coffee, citrus fruits, or Vanilla from Madagascar with a touch of Tonka bean dipped in caramel seasoned with fleur de sel. After its success, today Alain Ducasse/Michalak pastry puffs can be seen in front of Parisian train stations, the Gare du Nord, Gare de Lyon and recently at the Gare Saint Lazare.
As for the savoury puffs – my favourite ! are the traditional gougères or cheese puffs.These irresistible choux buns are made with different exotic flavourings. Comté cheese gougères finely blended with the wooded fresh taste of black pepper or the slightly aniseed touch of cumin or mild curry mixed with espelette pepper – a variety of chilly pepper grown in the Basque country in South West France.
And here is the contemporary urban style stall specially designed by Patrick Jouin to house the delightful savoury cream puffs …
At the junction of rue Jean Rey and quai Branly
Tel. 01 47 83 26 67
Métro: Bir Hakeim or RER Champs de Mars Tour Eiffel
Opening hours : everyday from 11am to 9pm
Categories: street food